<IT WORLD> Microsoft earns
plaudits By Martin J
HUA HIN, Thailand - Microsoft's
Windows 8 Consumer Preview became available to the
public this week as it was announced at the Mobile
World Congress (MWC) conference. The beta version
of the latest iteration of the company's flagship
product offers a more complete package and can be
downloaded from preview.windows.com for those
interested in giving it a trial run.
According to Microsoft, more than 100,000
changes have been made to the operating system
since the Developer Preview version released in
September last year. Reviews so far have been
generally positive, and the ability to have
different interfaces for traditional desktop and
touch screen tablet is a major plus.
Another major advantage with Windows 8 is
that it will run on hardware using ARM microchips,
making it compatible with the
majority of tablet
devices currently on the market and not limiting
it to x86 architecture only.
system will also be linked to Microsoft's own
Windows Store, from where users can download
applications directly. It is clear that Windows is
going down the app route in the wake of Apple and
Google; installing software from a CDROM could
well be a thing of the past.
The new Metro
platform enables it to behave just like a
smart-phone or tablet. However, those who need a
computer for work still have the option of a mouse
and keyboard; finger typing on a touch screen just
isn't the same.
The preview, which has
been downloaded over 3 million times, still has a
few glitches with hardware and software
compatibility, but these will be ironed out before
the launch of the final product, expected towards
the end of this year.
Industry Legal proceedings
between Taiwanese tech firm Proview and gadget
giant Apple have taken another twist this week as
worldwide use of the name "iPad" came into
question. Proview has accused Apple of fraud,
deception, and unfair competition, and hopes to
have the 2009 sale of the trademark nullified.
Once a major player in computer monitor
manufacturing, Proview launched its own version of
the iPAD (Internet Personal Access Device) in 2000
but it was not a market hit. Apple launched its
iPad 10 years later and achieved huge sales.
The company claim that Apple misled it
when it purchased the trademark under a concealed
UK registered business named IP Application
Development Ltd, stating that it wanted it because
it was an abbreviation of its name, not a top
secret tablet to be launched a month later.
Proview is seeking up to US$1.6 billion in
damages and a worldwide ban on the use of the name
iPad, Apple is standing its ground and stating
"Proview refuses to honor their agreement with
Apple in China".
The company issued
invitations to an event on March 7 where it is
highly likely that the company will launch the
Apple is in hot water again over
privacy issues after developers discovered that
apps were copying users photos without their
permission. When an app asks to enable location
data for mapping, GPS or any other function, it
also stores the location of photos taken and can
build up a profile of where the user has been.
This data can then be uploaded to third-party
servers and once it has left the iOS device Apple
has no control over it.
blame Apple for not exercising enough control over
what apps are doing without their users consent,
despite the already rigid rules and confines of
its App Store. It has since been discovered that
Android apps have also been photo snooping and the
same security flaw exists on Google's platform.
Hardware Love them or hate them,
tablets are now all the rage, although their
usefulness and productivity beyond presentations
and entertainment can still be questioned.
Taiwanese tech giant Asus aims to change this by
bridging the gap between tablet and smart-phone
with the announcement of its new PadFone hybrid.
The device, unveiled at the MWC in
Barcelona this week, comprises a combo of tablet,
laptop and smart-phone. The 4.3 inch (10.9
centimeter) dual core handset running Android 4
slides into a docking station turning it into a
10.1 inch tablet. There is also an optional
keyboard for those who want laptop flexibility.
The unit also boasts a super AMOLED
960x540 display (1280x800 for the tablet),
Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI, HSPA+, GPS, an A-GPS
gyroscope, and twin cameras. It is expected to go
on sale in April. Prices were not mentioned at the
Asus also announced a couple of new
higher specification models in the Transformer
tablet product range.
manufacturer Intel disclosed a number of new
partnerships and chips at the MWC this week as it
strives to get into the already burgeoning mobile
market. French network operator Orange said it
would be selling smart-phones based on Intel's
Atom processor, as did India-based hardware
manufacturer Lava and Chinese company ZTE. A
partnership with Motorola, soon to be owned by
Google, had previously been announced by Intel.
Primary competitors are devices powered by
ARM chips, which are very power efficient allowing
for longer battery life. Qualcomm's Snapdragon
microchip has also been an Intel adversary. Intel
chips have always been known for their power
consumption, which is why they have previously not
been considered for wide use in smart-phones.
Intel chief executive Paul Otellini hopes
to reverse this trend with the new partnerships
and a new lineup of processors in the Atom family.
Martin J Young is an Asia Times
Online correspondent based in Thailand.
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